Rent-A-Center, Inc.’s (RCII - Free Report) positive earnings surprise streak came to an end with third-quarter 2019 results. The bottom line fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate, after surpassing the same in the preceding five quarters. Nevertheless, the top line surpassed the consensus mark.
Notably, both the top line and the bottom line grew year over year. Moreover, the company’s same-store sales (comps) increased for the 11th straight quarter. Following the results, the company reaffirmed and narrowed its full-year projection.
We note that shares of the company declined 4.2% during the after-market trading session on Nov 6.
Q3 in Detail
Rent-A-Center posted adjusted earnings of 47 cents a share that missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 50 cents. However, the bottom line increased significantly from 32 cents reported in the year-ago quarter. We note that lower operating expenses and reduced interest expense favorably impacted the bottom line.
Rent-A-Center, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Total revenues of $649.4 million surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $630 million and also grew 0.7% year over year on account of decent same-store sales performance. This was offset by refranchising more than 100 locations in the past year and closures of few Core U.S. stores. Excluding effects on revenues resulting from the refranchising efforts, top line grew 2.7%.
Meanwhile, adjusted EBITDA during the quarter came in at $56.6 million, up 14.8% generated in the year-ago period. We note that adjusted EBITDA margin expanded 110 basis points to 8.7%.
Clearly, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company’s initiatives are well on track. Management intends to focus on cost containment endeavors, improve traffic trends, targeted value proposition, refranchise program and augment cash flow.
Comparable-Store Sales Performance
Same-store sales during the quarter grew 4.5%, reflecting an increase of 3.7%, 6.2% and 8.1% across the Core U.S., Acceptance Now and Mexico segments, respectively.
Same-store sales for the Acceptance Now segment expanded 20 basis points on a sequential basis. However, same-store sales for the Core U.S. and Mexico segments contracted 190 and 210 basis points, respectively, on a sequential basis. Consolidated comps for the company exhibited a sequential decline of 130 basis points.
Revenues at the Core U.S. segment declined 3.3% to $436.5 million owing to the refranchising efforts and continued store base rationalization. This was partly offset by same-store sales growth.
Revenues at Acceptance Now grew 6.4% from the prior-year quarter to $184.5 million driven by robust comps and acquisition of Merchants Preferred, a nationwide virtual rent-to-own provider.
Mexico segment’s revenues came in at $13.4 million, up 4.6% from the year-ago period. On a constant-currency basis, the metric improved 6.9%.
Finally, total Franchising revenues increased to $15 million during the reported quarter from $7.4 million in the year-ago period. This can primarily be attributed to refranchising over 100 locations.
At the end of the reported quarter, there were 2,011 Core U.S. locations, 1,009 Acceptance Now Staffed stores, 128 Acceptance Now Virtual, 122 stores in Mexico and 339 Franchise stores.
Other Financial Aspects
Rent-A-Center ended the reported quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $73.7 million, net senior debt of $251 million and stockholders' equity of $431.7 million. Capital expenditures totaled $6.9 million. It generated free cash flow of $205.3 million (including acquisitions and divestitures) during the first nine months of 2019.
As of Sep 30, 2019, the company reported its outstanding debt of $260 million.
Management now anticipates net debt of $185-$200 million for 2019 with net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 0.70-0.80. The company anticipates generating free cash flow of $205-$220 million during 2019.
Rent-A-Center projects consolidated revenues between $2.635 billion and $2.670 billion for 2019 compared with $2.620-$2.670 billion projected earlier. Management still envisions consolidated same-store sales growth in the mid-single digits.
The company now expects Core U.S. revenues in the band of $1.800-$1.820 billion and Acceptance NOW revenues in the range of $735-$750 million.
The company foresees adjusted EBITDA in the band of $245-$260 million and adjusted earnings per share in the range of $2.10-$2.35 for 2019. The Zacks Consensus Estimate currently stands at $2.27.
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